I own a German knockoff of the board game Parcheesi that's called Pacheesi, and all my friends used to have a laugh at the blatant mimicry. However, it turns out that one was not copying the other; both names trace to the Indian board game Pachisi, where you have to work your way around a cross by throwing cowry shells (the games Ludo, Sorry, and Trouble all are descendants of this). After the game was popularized in the US in the late nineteenth century, the r was added to Parcheesi in 1892 because of trademark purposes. In Hindi, Pachisi means "twenty-five", which was the highest possible score you could get with the shells. That comes from Sanskrit panca, meaning "five" (from Proto-Indo-European penkwe, also "five"), and vinsanti, meaning "twenty" (probably similar derivation but we're not sure).
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.